Capital & Counties resumes its interim dividend distribution
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UK-BASED Capital & Counties (Capco) has recommenced dividend distributions with a 0.5 pence per share distribution for the six months to June 30 after UK Covid-19 government restrictions were lifted and retail and hospitality customers fully reopened.
Rent collection improved in the first half for the group that holds most of its assets in Covent Garden in London, and 65 percent of June quarter had been collected adjusted for payment plans.
Customer support was being provided on a case-by-case basis and was expected to reduce with easing of restrictions.
The total property value of £1.8 billion (about R37bn) represented a 5.1 percent decrease (like-for-like) from the value at the end of December 2020.
Net rental income increased to £21 million from £18.2m at the end of June 2020. Access to liquidity comprising undrawn facilities and cash came to £989m versus £1bn at December 2020.
Group net debt of £668m and net debt to gross assets was 28 percent, the same as at the end of December 2020. Chief executive Ian Hawksworth said in a presentation that they were strongly positioned for recovery.
Proactive management involved creative and innovative approaches, the world-class customer line-up had been maintained, occupancies were high, customers were experiencing positive sales trajectories and he was confident about the long-term prospects for London’s West End.
Twenty-nine new leases and renewals were concluded in the first half, representing £6m in contracted income, with a further £3.1m under offer.
Peloton, Glossier and Ave Mario were among the 12 new openings scheduled over the course of 2021.
Some proactive management measures included the extension of the pedestrianisation, additional al fresco dining providing over 800 covers, a six-month cultural programme; digital engagement, public art installations, pop-up bars and terraces across Covent Garden.
Vacancies were at 3.4 percent versus 3.5 percent at December 2020. Two residential-led blocks on Southampton Street were sold for £50m.
Capco’s environment, sustainability and community board committee was setting clear actions and a pathway to net zero carbon by 2030 was expected to be published this year.
A customer engagement programme was under way on carbon, water and waste to reduce environmental impact. Continued pedestrianisation of streets around Piazza was aimed at also enhancing air quality.
On the JSE, Capco’s share price fell 2.9 percent to R34.56 yesterday afternoon, representing an 18.9 percent gain over a year.